5 Reasons to Upgrade Your Spam Protection Today

Recently, we have been reminding clients that our company has been offering state-of-the-art spam protection for years. In fact, we were one of the first creative firms in southern California to introduce inbox controls as part of our web design and hosting services.

With unsolicited emails bringing bigger risks than ever right now—including phishing scams, virus attachments, and ransomware—this is the perfect time to make sure your business is protected. Today, we want to share five simple reasons you should upgrade your spam protection if you haven’t already…

1. Dealing with Unwanted Emails Takes Time

You might think it doesn’t take long to clean spam from your inbox, but those wasted minutes each day add up quickly. In fact, you might be unknowingly spend a dozen hours on unwanted emails over the course of a year. 

Why not use the productive parts of your day on tasks that matter instead of dealing with spam?

2. You’ll Keep Viruses and Ransomware Out

It’s easy for even the most careful business owners or employees to accidentally click on an unknown email attachment just once. Then they may find their computers have become infected with viruses, malware, or even ransomware that restricts file access. 

With strong spam controls in place the odds that you’ll end up struggling with these hassles, or losing access to important data, are greatly reduced.

3. You Can Keep Control of Incoming Email

One worry business owners and managers have about using spam protection is that they won’t be able to receive messages from certain customers, or that they will no longer be able to view email attachments when they need to. However, with our email filtering service you always control what you want to receive and have the option of whitelisting important contacts.

In other words, you won’t miss out on any of the emails you actually need because you’re using spam protection with us.

4. You’ll Get Better Performance from Your Computers

Some companies try to fight spam and malicious emails using desktop software or antivirus suites. However, because these programs have to operate constantly, they can cause your computers to run slowly. And, they may create issues when you need to download or update software.

Our spam protection doesn’t need to be installed on your machines, so it won’t affect computer performance in your office.

5. Strong Spam Protection Costs Very Little

In most cases, getting the best of anything for your business means spending a lot of money. However, when it comes to keeping your inbox safe from spam, you don’t have to break the budget to get the coverage you need.

You can add email filtering to your web hosting package for one low monthly fee. It might be the best investment you make all year.

12 Online Marketing Tips for the Coronavirus Economy

As it becomes increasingly clear that the global coronavirus pandemic is likely to linger for several months (and possibly longer), topics like web design and online marketing might be the furthest things from your mind. However, this global health crisis is also putting the business world in a pinch. The companies that fail to adjust their strategies today are going to be hurting tomorrow—if they don’t disappear altogether.

So, while you shouldn’t spend all your time thinking about your website, it’s a good idea to explore some options to keep your business running in the coming months. And, with opportunities for meetings, conferences, and even simple one-on-one interactions being limited, the internet unquestionably is your strongest remaining sales and marketing tool.

With that in mind, let’s look at a dozen ways you can use digital strategies to keep moving ahead in the coronavirus economy…

#1 Adjust Products, Services, and Pricing

Most economists expect that current conditions will lead us into some sort of recession, at least in the short-term. At the same time, many of your customers or clients are probably feeling uncertain about their futures.

Knowing that, you might want to adjust your product and service offerings to fit the current times. Shorter contracts, flexible orders, and low-cost solutions might all be in steady demand. This will vary from market to market, of course, but your goal should be to give your buyers what they want. Now is the time to look ahead and adjust your website and social messaging accordingly.

#2 Install or Upgrade Website Ecommerce Features as Needed

Health officials are advising against unnecessary trips to the store, and particularly to crowded spaces. That means fewer shoppers and a big hit to retailers everywhere as customers either put off purchases or order online.

Depending on the products and services you sell, this might be the perfect time to improve your eCommerce game. Just because buyers can’t come see you in-person doesn’t mean they won’t want to order. Consider setting up faster shipping, online purchasing discounts, or even carryout-style service for those who are trying to practice social distancing. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to keep buying from you.

#3 Add Online Demonstrations to Your Website

Boosting online orders can be difficult if you are used to closing sales based on the strength of live presentations. One way to overcome this challenge is to film yourself (or salesperson) giving a great demo and then putting it on your website.

This might not be quite as effective as letting a customer try out a product themselves, it can go a long way towards answering the questions they have on their minds that would otherwise stop them from finalizing a purchase. And, shooting, editing, and posting online demos is easy. You can even make customized clips for special clients or individual buyer types.

#4 Increase Customer Engagement With Online Chats

The one thing that’s normally missing from eCommerce is the ability to ask good questions or get personalized advice like you would from a live salesperson or business owner. You can solve that issue and make the buying process more seamless by implementing online chat tools.

You’ve undoubtedly seen in use these already, but you might not realize just how valuable they can be. Not only can you use them to let buyers know when you are or aren’t at your desk, but you can even program automated responses to simple questions. If you want to boost online sales and conversions, integrated chat software could be the perfect solution.

#5 Improve Your Hosting and Web Security

Given that your website is about to get a lot more traffic and become an even bigger part of your sales and marketing plan, it makes sense to upgrade your hosting and cybersecurity plans.

Better hosting make your pages faster and more reliable. Improved backups, encryption, and monitoring all make it harder for online thieves to break into your site and get access to data they should. These are smart upgrades in any economy, but will likely prove to be especially crucial during the coronavirus outbreak.

#6 Fire Up the Home Office

The realities of social distancing mean that up to half of all Americans are going to be working from home for at least the next few months. Contrary to popular belief, that doesn’t necessarily need to involve a loss of productivity.

Besides setting a firm schedule and minimizing distractions, you can get more from your work-at-home time by utilizing remote access software such as TeamViewer and group chat services such as Slack. These tools let you tap into desktops and workstations from anywhere. That way you and your team never have to worry about missing out on important files or applications.

#7 Embrace Virtual Meetings and Conferences

At the time of this writing, thousands of local, national, and international meetings and conferences have been canceled in a period of 10 days. It’s uncertain when these activities will resume, but the smart money suggests it won’t be for many months.

If your business or industry is dependent on these types of sales interactions, then it’s up to you to replace them. That’s where online meetings, videoconferences, and online presentations come into play. With the right software, some good microphones, and nice lighting in a conference room you can host all kinds of virtual events. They might not be as effective as face-to-face interactions, but you can still use them to maintain relationships and close deals.

#8 Review Your Spending on Digital Ads

When times are good, you may be able to get away with setting your pay-per-click ads and forgetting about them. For the next few months, though, you would do well to keep a close eye on your spending and ROI.

It’s a virtual certainty that buying patterns are going to change in a lot of markets and industries. And at the same time, the potential for recession could cause the returns for certain types of campaigns to diminish. You’ll want to save every penny you can, so don’t waste any of your marketing budget on underperforming online ads that can be turned on later.

#9 Stay Ahead of Supply Chains and Schedules

Some businesses are already feeling the pinch in terms of incoming inventory, particularly if it arrives from China. Whether yours is one of them or not, it’s important to update your website as details change. The last thing you want is to make a bad situation worse by taking orders that can’t be fulfilled in a timely way.

The same goes for working schedules. You and your employees might be forced to miss time because of illness or a need to care for others in the household. Take advantage of file-sharing apps, slack chats, and other tools for work-at-home opportunities. And, be careful not to offer customers deadlines that can’t be met.

#10 Use Email to Keep in Regular Contact With Customers and Partners

Email marketing is always a crucial part of the online marketing mix, but in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s an important lifeline to your customer base. Let them know how you’re doing, offer helpful tips, and alert them to any opportunities or disruptions.

Email is fast, affordable, and targeted. Use it as your primary means of communication when you need buyers, vendors, or the general public to be alerted to changes in schedule, policy, pricing, etc. and you can avoid the kind of uncertainty that might otherwise hurt your sales and marketing efforts.

#11 Maintain a Strong Social Footprint 

While email might serve as your primary means of communicating directly with individuals, this is a great time to keep your company active on social media. Not only is it completely free, but your profiles can be used to state in front of the public at a moment when they might not be hearing from your competitors.

Feel free to share tips, success stories, and personal anecdotes. Don’t forget that you can lift spirits (and help your brand) by posting positive messages and updates from time to time, too.

#12 Don’t Overcommit to Plans or Campaigns

Our final note of caution: preparation has to do with the unknown future. Events are unfolding incredibly quickly, especially when you consider that few could have anticipated exactly how sharply life and business would change in the matter of a few short weeks.

Keep that in mind as you think ahead to future plans and tactics. Until the economy stabilizes and it’s easier to see what medium or long-term outcomes will look like, you don’t want to make big decisions or investments. Your main goal for the next two months should be to look after your loved ones and keep your company moving in the right direction. If you manage that, you’ll have done enough to make bigger plans later.

Need Help Formulating Your Company’s Game Plan?

With new developments and information coming so quickly, it’s easy for business owners and executives to get overwhelmed with the confusion surrounding the current pandemic. This is no time to panic or take your eye off the ball, however. The future of your business – and the well-being of your customers, employees, and vendors—is on the line.

COVID-19 Email Scams

During this rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic, when we should be coming together as a people, others have decided to use people’s fear for their malicious benefit.

There have been clickbait emails circulating. Clickbait is designed to attract your attention and entice you to click on a false link which is very deceptive. Some emails are disguised as coming from WHO, World Health Organization, and the CDC, Center for Disease Control. Others emails are promising vaccines, the cure, and securing donations.

You can take these measures to protect yourself and your emails from being hacked.

  1. Mouse over any links being sent to you and see if you are being directed to a non-credible website. 
  2. Check the email for any typos or spelling errors.
  3. Act as if you are going to reply to the email. Notice that the reply-to email address may not be from who you thought was the original sender. This is a good practice for testing if a suspicious email is really spam or legitimately from someone you know.
  4. Don’t open attachments. The attachment may contain malware.
  5. Use your auto-updates. This will ensure that your mobile, tablet, and desktop have the up-to-date antivirus software.
  6. And of course the safest action to take is to simply delete the email.

The Marcom Group’s CEO, Dave Plivelich, Talks Branding on Our Two Cents Podcast


At The Marcom Group, we know from experience that clients are best served when they can call one phone number for anything–which is why we own all of our own hosting equipment and have on-site staff ready to handle everything from design and development, to management and marketing, to the ongoing security maintenance and hosting of your website.

Why It’s Time to Upgrade Your Web Hosting

Web hosting is an easy topic for business owners to ignore. After all, most don’t really understand how it works, never see the computers where their websites are stored and are easily bored by details like server speeds.

So, rather than get into the technical minutia of different web hosting packages and configurations, today we simply want to remind our clients and readers that it’s time to review your hosting package. In fact, it’s likely that you could benefit from upgrading to a better plan.

Reluctant to spend money on something you don’t quite see the value in? Let’s look at a few things you get with dedicated web hosting…

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Is Your Business Website Ready for 2020?

We’ve flipped the calendar to a new year, and that has a lot of business owners thinking about what’s ahead in 2020. Many are thinking specifically about their websites, which have become crucial to sales and marketing and our digitally-driven world.

When you have a top-notch web presence for your business, you have an advantage over the competition. When your website isn’t keeping up, on the other hand, it’s hard to keep customers coming your way.

With that in mind, is your business website ready for 2020? Here are four questions you can ask yourself to find the answer…

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Is Your Business Website Mobile-Friendly, or Just Mobile-Compatible?

You have probably heard by now that more than half of all web traffic originates from mobile devices. You might even know that experts think nearly two-thirds of us will be accessing the internet primarily through phones and tablets in the next few years and that Google factors mobile compatibility into its search algorithm.

Many of the business owners and executives we work with are aware of these facts but don’t really incorporate them into their online marketing strategies. They do the bare minimum to make their websites mobile-compatible but don’t really go any farther.

That can be a big mistake in an increasingly mobile-dependent world. It’s always a good idea to give your customers more of what they want. If they are using mobile devices to find you, then doesn’t it make sense to provide a better mobile online experience?

We think so. To help you determine whether your business website is mobile-compatible or mobile-friendly let’s look at three different levels of implementation…

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Why Premium Web Hosting Is a Smart Investment

You see some peculiar things in the web design and online marketing industry. For instance, it’s not unusual for a business owner to pull up to our offices in a luxury car, while drinking an expensive coffee, and then inform us that they’ve selected the cheapest possible web hosting plan they could find.

We chalk these situations up to a lack of information. Because most non-technical people don’t really understand the ins and outs of web hosting, they tend to choose the lowest price option. However, that can be a big mistake.

Before we get into the reasons why, we have to explain the issues you face with regular, bargain-basement shared hosting plans. When you sign up for one of these packages your web hosting company stores your website on a server with hundreds or even thousands of others. That digital overcrowding can decrease performance (i.e., the speed your website loads), especially if some of your “neighbors” send spam, have viruses, or are engaged in other unsavory activities.

Conversely, with the premium web hosting plan you get your own dedicated server, or virtual server space. That comes with a number of advantages that make premium web hosting a worthwhile investment. Let’s look at a few of them now…

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Does Your Website Need SSL?

Even if you don’t follow the world of online marketing very closely, you have likely heard about SSL connectivity. The question that may have come to your mind is: “is that something I need on my website?” Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a protocol for transmitting private documents via the Internet. SSL uses a cryptographic system that uses two keys to encrypt data.

Strictly speaking, most small business websites that aren’t processing financial transactions don’t need SSL. But, you should probably spend a few dollars to add it to your web presence anyway. Let’s look at a few of the reasons why…

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What a Perfect Web Design Looks Like

When business owners and marketing executives turn to us it isn’t because they want an “average” or “great” web design – they want the very best. But what exactly does that mean?

We hear versions of this question almost each and every day. So, we want to help our readers and clients by shedding a little light on what the perfect business web design looks like.

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